July 18, 2022
As she began to plan the rework of the kitchen in a 1950s Colonial house located in Bethesda, Md., Kristen Mendoza, project designer for Washington, D.C.-based Four Brothers Design + Build, identified two conditions that would shape her solution.
One, the ceiling sloped in an eccentric, irregular way. Two, every wall, both interior and exterior, was punctuated by windows or doors.
These factors were at the root of the clients’ frustrations with the function of the existing kitchen. The pitched ceiling met the walls at about seven feet, severely restricting the hang height of the cabinets, which, coupled with the numerous openings in the walls, greatly affected the amount of storage in the room.
A disjointed layout further compromised the space, and created foot-traffic flow problems. Bisecting the room, a way-too-narrow peninsula fragmented the placement of appliances. The built-in undercounter oven was isolated from the central kitchen space. Jammed into a corner, the refrigerator was awkward to access as it was opposite the cooktop, which was set into the peninsula.
Coping with the Sloping Ceiling
Taking all these constrictions into account, the designer concluded that the key to the new kitchen would be an island configuration that incorporated the cooktop.
“I was worried that a vent hood in the center of the kitchen would block any views of the space,” admits Mendoza. “This situation really challenged my perspective, to think of a focal point in the center of the room instead of on the perimeter.” To emphasize the sloping ceiling height, she flanked the hood with two false beams that were stained to match the flooring.
The Four Brothers team employed a classic color palette of black and white, with Farrow & Ball paint (Downpipe No. 26) for the cabinets. The black and nickel light fixtures and knurled nickel cabinet hardware add a touch of sophistication to the color scheme.
The designer is pleased with the result. “I love how the dark counters and moody cabinet colors pair with the crisp white walls of this kitchen,” said Mendoza. “It’s really a fun way to add darker finishes to the room, but not close in the space.”
Designer: Kristen Mendoza, Four Brothers LLC
Photography: Steve Hershberger
Cabinet Hardware: Manzoni
Lighting: Chapman & Myers (sconces)
Microwave Drawer: Sharp
Paint: Farrow & Ball
Vent Hood: Zephyr
Wall Oven: BlueStar
Wall & Ceiling Paneling: TW Perry